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First Camilla

(As published in Pear Noir! 7-2012)


I named yesterday Cold And Brittle And White Like Snow. It was a picture to me, a composition. Winter jasmine had pushed out her yellow petals. They exploded like stars. They fell to the earth. They shot over archways of leafless vine.

Today is cool and crisp. I name it Chilly With A Hint Of Saffron Sun. A most singular red flower sits lonely in the bush. It is a kamikaze bloom, a truthsayer among the timid, a soldier among slow civvies. Its red is the color of blood.

First come, first die.

Hail to the First Camelia.

Hail to you and me.


(a rendition of which was a semi-semi-semi-finalist in the 2008 NCSU Literary Competition;)


These old clouds are teasing us today. They lope across the yellow-blue sky, their pregnant underbellies all pouty-gray and dimpled, their sides all swole-up like hot sausages in a pan. Everybody hears them complain, alright. Their growls blow across the heavens in the voice of an old rabid Hoover. They suck the bravery clean out of our bones, but they don’t give us a drop of rain.

Oh, but they want to rain, that’s true. It presses on me, the weight of their desire—the tonnage of their freedom-wish, and I would grant to wager: when these bulky clouds do, at last let go, we will catch all-out hell—it’ll rain like I-don’t-give-a-crap ya-little-dipsticks. The drops will brain us, we will shield our heads and run for cover, we will be sore afraid.

But these thunderheads, they are timid, yet. They still gather purple bruises on their way to making choice. They tell me I’m the same and that I must choose as well. So here I sit, on the banks of the Cape Fear, waiting for answers to come. I look down from my perch and see the world.

Jesus bugs walk on water. A brown leaf falls from the sycamore tree. It twirls down and terrifies the bugs. They skitter off, crazy. I imagine their tiny shrieking. The dry leaf becomes a crippled hand. It waves so long, farewell. It wobbles and bobs from the black-mud shore and heads out to the middle. In just a blink, the leaf has gone down river. It’s out of sight and gone.

Wish I could be gone, too. I sure do feel like leaving.

Lightening takes a bite of the sky. Thunder growls, mean and hungry.

“So, shut up or soak me,” I say to the storm, my throat parched with arid humor.




The river rushed like a son-ova-bitch for three whole days after the rains quit. It climbed the banks, angry to have been disturbed with more water, new and endless water raining down from straight above and pouring in from creeks and ravines and hills and fields and when the rains quit, the river rushed like a son-ova-bitch for three whole days.

Sometimes we are like this river, yes—rushing to get back to the thrill of calm.